Saturday, March 31, 2007

True Blood by Patricia Waddell

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 320
SETTING: Futuristic
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
SERIES: First book in her new futuristic series. Next book True Deception due out sometime in 2007.

REASON FOR READING: I love s.f./futuristic romances but there are not enough new ones written, so when I saw that both Tara and Kristie recommended this one, I had to go searching. Oh, and of course I have to confess I was intrigued by the notion of ZERO GRAVITY SEX.

SUMMARY:[from Amazon]
She's a diplomat...Danna MacFadyen of the League of Planets is assigned to investigate the explosion of a space freighter. She must use her psychometric skills to determine whether this was an accident or terrorism -- but for Danna, the hardest part of this assignment is working with Korcian Enforcer Cullon Gavriel. He's a warrior...Fighting isn't just in a Korcian's blood -- it's in his very soul. Cullon Gavriel already knows the freighter explosion was terrorism -- targeted at the Korcian prince traveling incognito aboard the ship. Cullon's single goal: to discover who is killing Korcian True Bloods. He never expects to become enchanted with a beautiful Terran female who has the ability to step into the past. As the pieces of an explosive puzzle fall into place....Danna and Cullon realize they have uncovered a conspiracy that stretches across the galaxy. The trail leads to the capitol city of the Korcian Empire, where shocking secrets lie hidden-- and where the lines between politics and love cross unexpectedly.
THOUGHTS / OPINION:
It's been quite a while since I read this but I remember TB as being a pretty good read. Danna and Cullon are assigned the task of finding out who is responsible for an explosion of a Korcian spacecraft that killed 46 crew members. They must find the perpetrators quickly in order to avoid an intergalactic war.

I was fascinated by Danna's psychometric abilities that allowed her to read the emotions of a person by touching an object that they had touched. Cullon was a very alpha male and was much less interesting to me. I find it very strange that so many futuristic/s.f. books have such uber-alpha males and rather weak females. Why is that? It seems as if the H/H from a medieval romance are dropped into a futuristic. Which is very discouraging to a feminist such as I am. I truly believe that plight of women all over the world will eventually get better and more equal to men over the next 100 years or so. (I hope it's sooner but men are so pig-headed and other cultures have barely begun the process of female equality, if at all.) It's so disappointing to read a book set say 500 years from now that features characters like those in an older medieval bodice ripper. I see this time after time in lots of futuristics. But not always, sometimes there are some really kickass heroines in them. Ack, sorry, I digress.

The zero gravity sex was very fun and the mystery detective work was pretty good, overshadowing the romance somewhat but still very enjoyable.

GRADE: B

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Wilder Name by Laura Leone

COPYRIGHT: 1989
PAGES: 187
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Series Romance
SERIES: Silhouette Desire #507

REASON FOR READING:Read and loved Fallen From Grace so I have slowly been glomming some of her older categories. She seems to prefer writing SFF these days so I'm reduced to searching out her backlist.

SUMMARY: [back blurb]

Once bitten, twice shy

After her scandalous divorce, Nina Gnagnarelli vowed never to trust a man again. She hid behind her carefully cultivated cool exterior -- but then Luke Swain came along. He irritated her from the moment they met. But he also aroused wild and uncontrollable passions in her, making her feel absolutely reckless...

Luke couldn't keep away from this beautiful woman whose life-style was so different from his own. She preferred French restaurants and designer clothes to his clean country living, but he'd caught a glimpse of the vulnerable beneath her icy facade. Luke knew that courting Nina was playing with fire, but for a lifetime with her, he'd risk getting burned.

THOUGHTS / OPINION:
This was a story of opposites attract. Nina Gnagnarelli is an opera singer and a rising star in her field She enjoys her elegant and sophisticated life. Luke is a rock singer and a down to earth country boy from Kansas. They meet at a music awards ceremony in New York where they are presenters for a jazz award. The first thing that struck me about this book was its sharp witty dialogue. I love good dialogue and the sparks just fly between these two right from the start. They laugh, flirt and argue and discover that they have nothing in common except their love of jazz music.

But Nina is a likable character and not a snob like I first thought. She was raised as part of a working class Italian American family from Brooklyn. She was quite the tomboy, playing football & baseball, camping, shouting and fighting with her four older brothers. Luke is also a very likable character with a wonderful sense of humor. He's ambitious and worked very hard to achieve his rock star status with song writing, rehearsals, recordings, and tours. I was rooting for these two right from the start even though they seemed so opposite. Their attraction takes off immediately, but it takes them a while to admit that on some level they were perfect for each other. They fight their attraction and the sexual tension and their first sexual encounter was very hot.

After that, Luke's fame, mobbing fans and rock star life interferes with their relationship when they have long separations as he goes on tour. Their relationship is splashed across the tabloids along with lots of nasty stories about his relationship with other women. Eventually the focus of the story becomes about trust. Can two famous people have a relationship despite being smeared by all the scandal sheets and gossip columns? The paparazzi and reporters and mobs of fans don't make it easy. Both of them have different tastes in music, art, movies, clothes, and food, so there were so many obstacles to overcome and a HEA seemed rather remote for a while. [spoiler] Near the end Luke has to leave town for an extended tour and Nina calls his room in LA one night. Of course, like an old cliche, another woman answers the phone and Nina's big misunderstanding is born. But it was of short duration and Luke's irritable, yet sweet and funny marriage proposal was wonderful and only proves that those 'three little words' is all a girl wants but some guys take a long time to get it.
[end spoiler]

There is a light hearted humorous quality to the dialogue with a little darker, serious undertones to balance it out. It really worked for me, plus Luke and Nina (and her rowdy family) are terrific characters. This one is worth searching around for if you're a fan of Laura Leone, like I am. It's been reissued as an e-book at fictionwise if you can't find the hardcopy.

MISCELLANEOUS: Laura Leone writes SFF under the name Laura Resnick. I checked out her website and found she wrote a 'romantica' ebook, Nights of Fire, under the name Leonie Daniels. Interesting. Now I'm curious.

GRADE: B+

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Voices of the Night by Lydia Joyce

COPYRIGHT: 2007

PAGES: 299

SETTING:
Historical - Victorian Era

TYPE:
Straight Romance

SERIES: I believe the books are connected in some way but they can be read as standalone. Here's what Ms. Joyce commented on DearAuthor:

As a quick note, you will NEVER have to read my books in any particular order, but the chronological order is actually this:

WHISPERS
VOICES
VEIL
SHADOWS (just turned in)
JEWELS (? writing right now)
Book #7 (in planning)
Book #8 (in planning)
MUSIC

REASON FOR READING: Loved VEIL & MUSIC. Didn't care too much for the hero in WHISPERS and I didn't finish it.

SUMMARY: [from the publisher]

Desperate to escape the underworld's treacherous grasp, Maggie of King Street finds a patron in Charles Crossham, Lord Edgington, who must transform a street girl into a lady to win a high stakes wager. Charles has never met anyone like the fierce and ardent Maggie, and Maggie's defenses are useless against the seduction of the jaded lord. Their association quickly ignites into a consuming obsession. But both passion and the bet are threatened by a ruthless villain from Maggie's dark past, who has plans for her that imperil everything she's ever cared for-and her very life.
THOUGHTS / OPINION:
Everyone knows the charming story of Pygmalion where Henry Higgins transforms the poor flower girl into a lady. VOTN has the same theme but with a dark, gloomy atmosphere. The reader get a sense of gothic undertones when LJ paints a vivid picture of Dickensian London. Instead of the usual privileged and wealthy lords and ladies and their beautiful mansions and gardens that are typically portrayed in historical romances set in London, we see the seedier side of the city with the crime, filth and abject poverty.

Maggie of King Street, lives in a broken down flat and struggles to protect her adopted family of eight, who she calls her "chavies" or children. Maggie is a complicated and compelling character and extremely well written. Charles Crossham, on the other hand, was much more difficult to like. When he approaches Maggie with his proposal to turn her into a lady, provide her a place to live and an income with which she can support her family, she accepts knowing she has no choice.

Charles takes advantage of her desperation and their first sexual encounter really disgusted me. (I sound like a prude here but really I like sex early in books, or anytime actually ;). This incident just felt off.) Maggie did what she thought was expected of her and Charles was acting like the typical Victorian 'gentleman' of the times. But I expected more honor from my heroes and taking advantage of this heroine like this felt wrong. He was such a shallow person to me at this point in the book. But he had his upbringing to contend with and spoiled wealthy hedonistic young men don't make the best heroes. LJ was able to turn around his character into something commendable and I liked him at the end.

The mystery/suspense part of the story dealt with an incident in Maggie's past and was riveting. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and I wasn't quite convinced of their HEA. When the heroine is so far beneath the hero in social standing, it's hard to believe that these kinds of marriages will work out. But I was willing to believe it for Maggie's sake.

GRADE: B

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Simply Love by Mary Balogh

COPYRIGHT: 2006
SETTING: Historical - Regency Era
TYPE: Straight Romance
PAGES: 320
SERIES: The 2nd in the 'Simply' series. Simply Magic and Simply Perfect are coming up.

REASON FOR READING: I have read every book Balogh has ever written so I'm basically forced into continuing the tradition.

SUMMARY: [From the publisher]
New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh returns to the elegance and sensuality of Regency England as she continues the enthralling story of four remarkable women- friends and teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls. At the center of this spellbinding novel is Anne Jewell, a teacher haunted by a scandalous past...until she meets a man who teaches her the most important lesson of all: nothing is simple when it comes to love....

She spies him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening- a lone figure of breathtaking strength and masculinity, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For single mother and teacher Anne Jewell, newly arrived with her son at a sprawling estate in Wales on the invitation of an influential friend, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows- and passions- run deeper than she could have ever imagined.

As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence far from the pity and disdain of others. Yet almost from the moment Anne first appears on the cliffs, he senses in this lovely stranger a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both from loneliness, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. Now the unwed single mother and war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives. For Sydnam, it is a chance to heal the pain of the past. For Anne, it is the glorious promise of a future with the man who will dare her to reveal her deepest secrets...before she can give him all her heart.


THOUGHTS/OPINION: I think I have finally had enough of Balogh for a while. I have been a huge fan of hers since the early '80s when I started glomming all her traditional regencies. In fact, she is the first author I started glomming before I even heard of the word 'glom'. I have around 50 of her books in my keepers along with about 20 anthologies Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous.

The overall complaint I have about SL is that it lacks emotion. Both the H/H seemed so sedate and calm all the time. There was nothing wrong with the story. I just never really cared for either one of the main characters. Both of them were damaged in some way (he with his disfiguring scars, she with her rape and rejection by her family) and I usually enjoy stories about the healing power of love. See here and here. But for some reason this story didn't work for me. I keep seeing reviews and readers rave about how emotional it was. I just didn't feel it. AAR loved it. Readers in the AAR annual poll loved it. But I was just.... blah. Characters from the Bedwyn Series make an appearance but I couldn't drum up the energy to care. I think I'll go back and reread A Summer to Remember. Loved that one.

MISCELLANEOUS: Yeah, after reading every book she has every written, you know I will be reading the next in the series, Simply Magic. Yeah, I know, I have a serious problem letting go.

GRADE: C

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Last Summer by Theresa Weir


COPYRIGHT: 1992
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Straight Romance
PAGES: 303
SERIES: None

REASON FOR READING: It was probably Maili that recommended this book (her blog seems to be shutdown unfortunately so I can't check). I also loved some of her other works like Amazon Lily and Cool Shade.

SUMMARY: [from back cover blurb]

He spent his lifetime running from his past...
Right from the start Maggie Mayfield knew Johnnie Irish was trouble. The sexy Hollywood star had returned to his hometown of Hope, Texas, to a hero's welcome. But Maggie the notorious bad boy was nothing but bad news -- until she discovered the tragic secret behind the hidden sweetness in his cynical smile.

She risked her future on the promise of his love...
Johnnie knew he shouldn't have come back, knew he could never forgive this stark desert town for turning its back on a boy just struggling to survive. But all thoughts of revenge faded when he met widowed schoolteacher Maggie Mayfield. Passionate and caring, she seemed to sense the yearning behind his cocky swagger, the pain and loneliness he had tried so hard to escape. Against all reason Maggie believed in him. And now he knew he had to find the strength to confront his demons -- or lose the only woman he could ever love.


THOUGHTS/OPINION: Although LS was published 15 years ago there is nothing outdated about it. Johnnie is what I would call an 'anti-hero' in the tradition of Anne Stuart. I can't explain why I have such a love/weakness for such heroes but there you go. Johnnie's bitter attitude stems from his horrid childhood. He was raised by a seriously dysfunctional mother who was the town slut. She would lock him in a closet while she entertained customers or throw him out of the house to sleep on the porch in any weather. He seldom had enough to eat or proper shoes or clothes. And the town of Hope stood by and did nothing to help him or ease his situation. Needless to say, he grows up with a major chip on his shoulder. When he was about 16 the town sheriff (who was his mother's regular customer) drives him to the edge of town and tells him to start walking. He makes it to California where he is now a big Hollywood star.

Maggie Mayfield is assigned the task of picking Johnnie up from the airport and she doesn't think too much of him at first. He's cocky and arrogant and seems to be drunk or on drugs. When he falls off the back of the convertible that she is driving through the parade, she notices a syringe fall out of his pocket. Of course, she assumes the worse. But when they get him to the hospital she discovers how wrong she is... Johnnie is a diabetic (not a spoiler) and the syringe is insulin.

Maggie is a kind compassionate person and she is drawn to him and wants to help him. Johnnie is extremely bitter and angry, and uses alcohol excessively to the detriment of his health. In fact he seems suicidal and ends up in rehab a couple times. He comes in and out of Maggie's life and it's a roller coaster ride. Just when they seem to be getting along so well something would happen and Johnnie would disappear again. His childhood experience has left him feeling worthless and incredibly lonely. When Johnnie disappears from Maggie's life he thinks he's doing her a favor, feels he doesn't deserve Maggie or any happiness. It didn't seem like he was just feeling sorry for himself, he really believed it.

There is one other character in the book that was well drawn, Johnnie's high school drama teacher, who was like a real mother to him. Other than her I can't remember much about the other characters. This was all Johnnie and Maggie's story. I fluctuated between hating Johnnie, and wanting to strangle him, and eventually he just broke my heart when the story of his childhood all comes out. But Maggie was not a doormat. She was kind but demanding that he take care of himself and treat her right. And willing to go it alone, if he didn't straighten out. It was a long road, but I think realistic in how the story developed. I really love stories about the healing power of love and this was an excellent example of one. If you can find a copy somewhere it's well worth it.

MISCELLANEOUS: Couldn't find a cover image anywhere (book is too damn old) so I used this scanned image from ebay. This book really reminded me of One Summer by Karen Robards (bad boy / teacher / small town).

GRADE: A

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sexy/Dangerous by Beverly Jenkins

COPYRIGHT: 2006
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
PAGES: 341
SERIES: No, not as far as I can tell. Jenkins does have a new book coming out in November titled Deadly Sexy.

SUMMARY: [from Amazon]

Wearing her shades, a black Stetson, and snakeskin cowboy boots, security agent Maxine "Max" Blake is the baddest thing walking. Ex-marine, ex-cop, and a whole lotta 'tude, Max doesn't have time for anything but her job. Her latest assignment: to protect Dr. Adam Gary. Her problem: he doesn't want her there.

Adam wants to focus on his work, not to be distracted by this tall, sexy woman. A foiled kidnapping attempt may have forced him to take an undercover agent into his household, but no one said anything about the agent being a woman, or that she'd be beautiful, or that she came with two monster rottweilers. How is he supposed to concentrate on his top-secret project that could revolutionize the world when all he can think about is her smooth, coffee-colored skin and those long, lean legs?

But as danger nips at their heels, love may be a distraction neither of them will live to enjoy . . .

REASON FOR READING: Rosario and KarenS both raved about this book and that's enough to send me to the bookstore.

THOUGHTS / OPINION: The title of this book describes the heroine in a nutshell. Maxine "Max" Blake is the most kickass heroine I have read since probably Eve Dallas. Over 6 feet tall, an ex-Marine, tough, and completely self-confident, she epitomizes how a strong heroine can be portrayed in a romance without compromising her femininity. She's strong throughout without the soft wimpy insecurities that some authors use to characterize their supposedly strong heroines. She comes from a loving family with no traumas or deep secrets to cause inner turmoil. When Max is assigned to guard Adam she brings along her "team" of two trained rottweilers to the government house where he is living and working on his top secret project. I'm not a fan of this breed of dog but Max adores them and I was completely won over by their personalities.

Adam is also an excellently drawn character. He's intelligent but stops shy of being portrayed as nerdy and is very secure in his masculinity to let Max be the strong woman she is. And he's a hunk but doesn't try to out-alpha her when the situation becomes dangerous. He also has issues with the dogs from a bad experience in his past that he works through it realistically.

The first half of the book is rather slow with very little action or suspense. But it was fun to see how Max comes into Adam's house to renovate and make it livable and install security measures. The woman knows how to get things done . I need someone like that around my house. When the action and suspense finally go into high gear I had a hard time putting it down and stayed up too late trying to finish it. The villains were obvious and not very clever, but I loved the high speed chase scenes with Max driving. How many car chase scenes have you read that feature an accomplished woman driving. Woohoo, go Max. She was wonderful. All the other characters were fairly well drawn and the sex scenes were pretty spicy.

I also liked the ending and how Max made the decision she did without pressure from Adam. All in all, an enjoyable read with an unusual heroine.

GRADE: B+

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New book review format

I decided to keep track of my reading this year and log my results using Rosario's spreadsheet so that when the end of the year rolls around I can compile my favorites for AAR's annual reader poll much more easily. I have a ton of reviews to write and no time to write them. So I've been trying to think of a way to short cut the whole process so I can post more reviews. The most time consuming part for me is writing a synopsis of the plot and characters in my own words (kind of like AAR does in their reviews). I'll try to keep doing that most of the time but in the interest of getting caught up with my reviews, I will use book blurbs from the the back of the book, Amazon, B&N or the publisher when I'm feeling lazy. (Okay people, that's most of the time, I admit it.)

I found a review format on someone's blog (forgot who) that I'm going to 'steal' but I tweaked it to suit my preferences. We'll see how this works out. If it's too annoying I'll just abandon it.

TITLE:
AUTHOR:
PICTURE OF BOOK: (If Possible)
SERIES: (which book in what series, if applicable)
COPYRIGHT: (Date published)
PAGES:
SETTING: Place/time (from Rosario's spreadsheet)
TYPE: Straight romance, paranormal, mystery, etc. etc. (from Rosario's spreadsheet)

SUMMARY: (I'll be stealing this from either B&N, Amazon.com, or the publisher. If I write a summary I will try not to post spoilers.)

REASON FOR READING:
THOUGHTS / OPINION: (I like to rant... read at your own risk.)
MISCELLANEOUS: (You never know.)
GRADE:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

By Possession by Madeline Hunter

BP is the second book published in Hunter's medieval series but is actually the first book chronologically and takes place in 1326 at the end of Edward II's reign. Addis de Valence who has been presumed dead returns to his home only to discover that his wife and father are dead, and his stepbrother has taken over his estate. Addis is a crusader knight and for the past 8 years was a captured slave in the Baltics until his lover helped him to escape.

Moira Falkner is the daughter of Edith who was a bondswoman and his father-in-law's mistress. Edith and Moira were freed on his deathbed but there are no witnesses or papers to prove this fact. So Addis takes advantange of this lack of evidence and refuses to recognize her free state and claims her as his bondswoman and assumes that she will become his whore, just as her mother was a whore. After all, like mother like daughter. But Moira is one massively stubborn woman to match Addis's massively arrogant ego and he has met his match. Moira accepts the bond until she can acquire proof but refuses to stoop to becoming his mistress.

The sexual tension is so thick between them throughout most of the book. I loved Moira's strength and how she refuses to be cowed or controlled by Addis. I became extremely frustrated with Addis and wanted to knock him upside the head through most of the first half of the book. But when an extremely alpha male like him falls in love it packs an emotional punch.

Addis is determined to regain his birthright that was stolen by his stepbrother and he and Moira journey to London to seek help from the king. The political intrigue provided an excellent backdrop for this great love story and was realistically portrayed. Moira is equally determined to marry a freemason who is her equal in the rigid medieval social structure. Moira has been in love with Addis since before his doomed marriage, but he never noticed her. Slowly he falls in love but lords and peasants in the Middle Ages didn't marry. The expected outcome in those days would be for Moira to become his mistress but Moira stubbornly refuses and I greatly respected her for it. Don't worry though, there are some very lovely sex scenes. But how do they get a happy ending? I won't spoil it for you. Just suffice to say that there was a very satisfying ending and you won't want to miss it.

My grade: B+

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shopping for books I don't need but had to have

Whoopeee! Went to Borders tonight and bought some books.



I'm a huge fan of Carla Kelly. Lots of raves over at AAR RtR message board. One poster called it "brilliant". I hope it has sex in it (okay, i heard that, shut up). No, I did not skim for the sex scenes in the bookstore. I didn't want to crease the spine before I bought it. Yeah, weird.





I have loved most of Joyce's work and DearAuthor gave Voices of the Night a good review.





I didn't want to get left out of the stampede like I was on her last book. Couldn't find it in the store at first. Not in new arrivals. Not in romance section. Had to break down and ask a clerk (I hate talking to clerks). She disappeared for a minute and came back with it. Don't know where they were hiding it. I think I may have done a happy dance right there in the store.




The previous book (Slave to Sensation) was my favorite paranormal of 2006 so had to have this one too.






I was kicking myself because I forgot my discount coupons but I couldn't wait to get these home. My TBR is getting ridiculous again.

Reading now: Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
Completely yummy book that was featured prominently in the 2006 AAR Reader Poll. I'm loving it but I don't think reading this book before casting my ballot would have affected any of my picks except maybe one: Favorite Funny. The humor and sassy dialog is wonderful.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Exposure by Susan Andersen

Hmmmm, I'm getting this vague feeling of deja vu. Heroine escaping to a small town (check). Quirky characters (check). Hero is a hunky sheriff (check). Didn't I just read a book like this? Oh, yeah, it was True Confessions by Rachel Gibson (see review below). Except Exposure is romantic suspense and not a silly contemporary like TC. And it turns out I liked it quite a bit better. Maybe that's because in general I like romantic suspense better than silly contemporaries (but not always). I can more easily forgive the faults in a romantic suspense over a supposedly funny contemporary. Yup, it's not fair, but there you are.

Emma Sands is on the run from her creepy guardian who is obsessed with her and has been secretly videotaping her for the last 14 years. She also suspects that he had killed her husband and brother. So she takes off from New Orleans with her 3 year old daughter, Grace, and the videotapes and after getting on the wrong ferry, ends up in Port Flannery, Washington, when her car breaks down. After a confrontation with the dishonest auto mechanic, Emma decides to settle into small town life for a short while with her daughter and eventually meets big tough Sheriff Elvis Donnelly, a 6 foot 6 inch hunka-hunka-burning-love. Elvis had a difficult childhood and was the town bad boy. He became a successful cop in nearby Seattle, only to return to town after being seriously injured by a car bomb. Elvis' scarred face and prosthetic arm have further distanced him from the community that has a hard time accepting him.

When Emma and Elvis meet the sparks fly and the attraction is palpable. Elvis is convinced she is running away from something and decides to keep a close eye on her. Little Gracie plays quite a prominent role in this book and I have to issue a warning: If you don't like baby-talk or children in books then avoid Exposure. Up until I read this book I would have been one of those who would avoid this book like the plague but I was absolutely charmed by Gracie. When she kisses Elvis' scar on his face and says "owie" my heart just melted (yeah, I'm a sap). And she's not an 'adorable perfect child' type that I detest. She had her bratty moments.

I really liked Elvis (hated the name though). I liked how Emma never really saw his scars, and just accepted him and was instantly attracted to him. The secondary characters were not too quirky, the plot moved along quickly with some snappy dialog and the sex scenes were very hot. But there was no real mystery to solve since the bad guys were pretty obvious. Exposure is set near my home east of Seattle so I could see that Andersen did her research well since I have this urge to take a ride on a ferry to the San Juan islands in the near future.

My grade: B+

Monday, March 05, 2007

Home sick

I'm staying home sick from work today and I feel a bit like I'm playing hooky from school. I had some dental work done last week, called crown lengthening (and I won't go into what that is because it grosses me out), and it was really throbbing and aching today so I sent email that I would not be in today. Took some extra strength Tylenol and I'm waiting for it to kick in. Doctor gave me a prescription for Vicodin but I HATE that stuff.

Anyway, I'm also reading an extremely good book, Last Summer by Theresa Weir, and I'm having a hard time putting it down (no, that's not why I stayed home from work). I can't remember who told me about this ... Kristie? Sybil? ??? Whoever you are, THANK YOU! I love Johnnie Irish, I love Maggie May. Very emotional book. This may turn out to be a keeper.

I have a few reviews I need to finish, but I think I'll go lay on the couch with my blankie and read.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My AAR Ballot

Last year (2006) was not my best year in terms of reading lots of keepers, only 5 in the A or A- range. I ended up changing my grading of two books while filling out my AAR ballot. I upgraded one book because I realized that it had an unforgettable H/H. I downgraded another book because I had a hard time recalling anything about it other than the fact that I know I had enjoyed it.

Best Romance Novels


Best Romance
My vote: Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas
Winner: Lover Awakened, JR Ward

Favorite Funny
My vote: Sex Lies and Online Dating, Rachel Gibson
Winner: Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase

Most-Hanky Romance
My vote: Crossroads Cafe, Deborah Smith
Winner: Lover Awakened, JR Ward

Most Lucious
My vote: The Raven Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt
Winner: The Raven Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt

Best Erotic Romance
My vote: All U Can Eat, Emma Holly
Winner: All U Can Eat, Emma Holly

Best Cabin/Road Romance
My vote: Cold As Ice, Anne Stuart
Winner: Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase

Best Debut Author
My vote: Elizabeth Hoyt
Winner: Elizabeth Hoyt

Best Buried Treasure
My vote: Crossroads Cafe, Deborah Smith
Winner: Jacob, Jacquelyn Frank

Guiltiest Pleasure
My vote: All U Can Eat, Emma Holly
Winner: All U Can Eat, Emma Holly

Author Most Glommed
My vote: (left blank)
Winner: JR Ward

Best Medieval/Renaissance
My vote: The Silver Rose, Susan Carroll
Winner: The Silver Rose, Susan Carroll

Best European Historical
My vote: Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas
Winner: Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas

Best American Historical
My vote: A Reason to Live, Maureen McKade
Winner: A Reason to Live, Maureen McKade

Best Contemporary
My vote: Crossroads Cafe, Deborah
Winner: Drop Dead Gorgeous, Howard

Best Romantic Suspense
My vote: Cold as Ice, Anne Stuart
Winner: Cold as Ice, Anne Stuart

Best Alternate Reality
My vote: Slave to Sensation, Nalini Singh
Winner: Lover Awakened, JR Ward

Best Chick Lit/Woman's Fiction
My vote: (left blank)
Winner: Hot Dish, Connie Brockway

Best Short Story
My vote: (left blank)
Winner: Hot Toy (Santa, Baby), Jennifer Crusie

Best Characters

Most Tortured Hero
My vote: Zsadist, Lover Awakened, JR Ward
Winner: Zsadist, Lover Awakened, JR Ward

Strongest Heroine
My vote: Sascha, Slave to Sensation, Nalini Singh
Winner: Bella, Lover Awakened, JR Ward

Best Hero
My vote: Sebastian, Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas
Winner: Sebastian, Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas

Best Heroine
My vote: Evie, Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas
Winner: Evie, Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas

Best Couple
My vote: Sebastian & Evie, Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas
Winner: Benedict & Bathsheba, Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase

Best Villain
My vote: Lover Awakened, JR Ward
Winner: Lover Awakened, JR Ward


Looks like we have agreement on 12 of them. And even though my other picks didn't make it as the number one favorite, most of my choices appeared somewhere in LLB's extended results that list the top 10 or so vote getters. So overall I had a pretty good all around year. I still want to read Lord Perfect and KristieJ loved Bone Deep and The Panther and the Pyramid so I have put those on my list. Now onward to 2007 books.